In 1987, Walt Disney World was in the midst of a huge expansion. Construction was underway at multiple locations, on projects that would change the face of the resort forever. Disney’s new CEO, Michael Eisner, was intent on making the resort a full-service destination that could keep a family occupied for an entire vacation without having to leave property.
Most of his first projects were designed to stave off competition from elsewhere. The Disney-MGM Studios was put in development to head off a possible new Universal park in Orlando, and to support Eisner’s big-time movie production ambitions. Typhoon Lagoon was intended to counter the elaborate water parks that had sprung up elsewhere since River Country’s opening, and Pleasure Island sought to keep adults on property at night and to draw business from Orlando’s Church Street Station.
Add to that legacy projects from Card Walker’s time like the Grand Floridian Beach Resort and EPCOT’s Norway pavilion, as well as the new IllumiNations show at EPCOT, and there was a lot to keep roving report Regis Philbin busy in this progress report from the 1987 Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade.